For the past week or so, the media has hammered home one message above all: Donald Trump will have to overcome unprecedented odds to make up the polling gap between himself and Hillary Clinton. According to some polls, Trump is as much as 13 points behind the presumed Democratic Party nominee. That has given the nervous pundits some breathing room as they retreat to the same mantra they’ve been reciting since last summer: That Trump won’t [fill in the blank]. Apparently, they lack the ability to learn from their mistakes.
This week, we got the first indication that the Trump Can’t Win crowd spoke too soon. A new Quinnipiac University poll asked voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania about the likely matchup. These three states are among the most important battlegrounds in a country that’s mostly made up of pre-determined blues and reds. And if the numbers are any indication, Hillary isn’t sitting quite as pretty as her media admirers might like to imagine.
In Florida, Clinton leads Trump by only a single percentage point. Same for Pennsylvania. And in Ohio, Trump is ahead of Clinton 43-39.
“Six months from Election Day, the presidential races between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three most crucial states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are too close to call,” said Peter Brown of Quinnipiac.
The more you think about it, the more unlikely it seems that Clinton can actually pull this victory off. Unless Trump says something way out of bounds or gets mired in some manufactured scandal, he has plenty of room to grow over the next six months. The media onslaught will be intense, but it’s hard to imagine anyone liking Trump today that will not like him in November. On the other hand, millions of Americans could warm up to his unconventional personality between now and then, especially as they begin comparing him to the soulless Clinton.
Where is Clinton’s path to growth? How is she going to convince America to trust her? What qualifications can she run on without making it obvious that without her husband, she wouldn’t be within 1000 miles of the White House? How can she overcome what might be her most fatal flaw: the fact that people – even many who agree with her politically – really don’t like her?
It’s way too early to suggest that Trump has this in the bag, but you would be foolish to bet against him.